Stunning panoramic views are the rewards for hiking to the top Uncompahgre Peak (14,309-ft.), the sixth highest fourteener in Colorado and the highest point in the San Juan Mountains.
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Why Hike Uncompahgre Peak
The uniquely shaped summit block of Uncompahgre Peak (14,309-ft.) is a well know landmark in the San Juan Mountains. From a distance the peak looks like a formidable climb but the ascent up the mountain’s south ridge is quite doable for hikers that are well acclimated and reasonably fit.
Hiking to the summit is well worth the effort. For most of the way the trail climbs through beautiful meadows with unobstructed views of the peak’s south and east faces. Beyond the meadows the trail ascends Uncompahgre's south ridge. As you approach the summit there is one short, steep scramble before you get back on a good trail for the final stiff climb to the top. The broad summit, which stands apart from the surrounding peaks, offers stunning panoramic views in all directions.
Pick a nice day and get an early start so that you are down from the summit before the onset of afternoon thunder storms, a frequent occurrence in the Rockies. Also, be forewarned that the final 4.0 miles drive to the trailhead is up the rough and narrow Nellie Creek 4WD road. Do not even think about taking a passenger car up this road.
Walking up the Nellie Creek road will add 8 miles (RT) and 2,115-ft. to the climb making this a 15.8 mile (RT) hike with an elevation gain just under 5,000-ft.
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